Top Tennis Players Compete Virtually in Madrid Open Charity Event

  • Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro online tournament begins on April 27 at 2pm GMT
  • 32 participants will compete for €150,000 purses for men's and women's events
  • Prize money will be donated to struggling tennis players and the Madrid Food Bank
  • Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Kiki Bertens are among the leading players to take part
tennis player Rafael Nadal
Leading tennis players will battle it out virtually for the Madrid Open charity event starting April 27. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A unique spectacle

A video game event to raise funds for charity will see leading tennis players battle it out to win the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro online tournament starting April 27. 

€150,000 ($162,868) is on offer for both events

The participants will be able to play from their own homes after the COVID-19 caused the widespread cancellation of professional tennis events until the end of July at the earliest. 16 men and 16 women will be taking part, with the virtual games taking place at the Manolo Santana Stadium. The Tennis World Tour’s video game will serve as the battleground. A purse of €150,000 ($162,868) is on offer for both events. 

Those who win prize money can then decide the sum they’d like to donate to tennis players who are struggling financially in the current climate. €50,000 ($54,286) will go to the Madrid Food Bank as it continues to help Spanish locals during the ongoing pandemic. 

A stacked field

A draw for the event took place on Friday and was live-streamed through Facebook. The world number two player Rafael Nadal is in the first group. He is facing Andy Murray, Benoit Paire, and Denis Shapovalov:

Some of the players taking part in the women’s event include the 2019 Madrid Open winner, Kiki Bertens. The ex-world number one ranked player, Angelique Kerber, and the 2019 US Open winner, Bianca Andreescu, will also be playing. 

the first organized video game event of its kind to feature actual players

This is the first organized video game event of its kind to feature actual players. The broadcast coverage will also be similar to the real-life Madrid Open.

Fans can tune in to the action live through Facebook Gaming beginning on Monday at 2pm GMT. There will be one screen showing the live action for a given game and another window focusing on the player.

A popular idea

Getting ready to face off against the five-time winner of the Madrid Open Rafael Nadal is Denis Shapovalov. Looking forward to the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro event, he said: “I like this original idea very much and I am excited to be part of it.”

A few other professional sportspeople have also been using video games to keep fans happy lately. Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris have both been showcasing live video game racing. Popular soccer players such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Kane have been doing the same with soccer video games.

According to an esports specialist with Nielsen Sports, these types of initiatives help drive huge increases in audience figures. This is particularly the case now in light of the worldwide cancellation of sporting events over COVID-19.